A nervous mortgage market drove interest rates higher this week ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, with the average for a 30-year fixed-rate loan rising to 4.29% from 4.22% a week earlier, Freddie Mac said.
The rate for a typical 15-year fixed mortgage edged up from 3.27% to 3.3%, Freddie Mac said in its report on what lenders are offering solid borrowers. The survey showed start rates for popular types of adjustable-rate loans were little changed.
Bond investors ultimately determine what rates mortgage borrowers will pay. Their guessing game of late has been exactly when the Federal Reserve will begin tapering off its purchases of $85 billion a month in government bonds, a stimulus designed to keep long-term interest rates low.
With little news from the Fed itself, the market was trading on mixed housing data, said Freddie Mac Vice President Frank Nothaft, chief economist for the giant finance company.
The latest Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index, released Tuesday, showed prices in the 20 largest cities increased 13.3% in September compared with a year earlier, the highest such increase since February 2006.
But higher mortgage interest rates also were undercutting home sales. The National Assn. of Realtors reported this week that pending sales dipped for the fifth consecutive month.
Freddie Mac surveys lenders about the terms they are offering borrowers with good credit and down payments of at least 20%, or 20% home equity if they are refinancing. The borrowers would pay the lenders less than 1% in upfront fees and discount points. Third-party charges often borne by borrowers, such as appraisals and title insurance, are not included.
The report came out Wednesday, a day earlier than usual, because of the Thanksgiving holiday.